The Coors Effect

April 22, 2010 8:22 PM

Jimenez follows up no-no with strong outing

Okay, so we weren't expecting Ubaldo Jimenez to come back out five days after throwing a no-hitter and throw another one, right?  In fact, I was a little concerned about Ubaldo coming into this one.  After all, he threw 128 pitches on Saturday night.  So how would he hold up on Thursday afternoon?

The answer: pretty damn well.

On a day when Livan Hernandez, who has to be the most surprising pitcher in the National League (he hadn't given up a run this season before today, this after not having had an ERA under 5 since 2007), was doing a pretty good job limiting the Rockies' offensive output, Ubaldo was even better in a 2-0 win for the good guys.  Yeah, the Nationals got five hits off Ubaldo, but his control was better this time around (only two walks, after walking six on Saturday night.)  The ultimate result was seven and a third shutout innings, bringing Ubaldo's ERA on the season down to a microscopic 0.95.  Yeah, that 0.95 isn't going to keep up, but if a 1.13 WHIP is indicative of Ubaldo's talent, it's not going to go up much.

The bigger concern with Ubaldo going forward is his workload.  Today was his third straight start in which he's exceeded 100 pitches, and the second in a row that he's gone over 120.  For a 26-year-old pitcher who throws a high-90s fastball... sheesh.  It's borderline abuse.  Now, I'm mostly of the opinion that major league teams need to stop babying their pitchers so much and leave them in the game as long as they're effective -- and it's certainly not Ubaldo's fault that the rotation thus far has had one and a half good starting pitchers (himself and Good Jorge), or that the bullpen has most Rockies fans reaching for the antacid -- but that's a heavy workload for so early in the season.  If Ubaldo breaks down, the Rockies' rotation will go from one and a half good pitchers to half of one.  (That's assuming that Cook and Hammel don't pick things up.)  So the Rockies can ill afford an injury, and Tracy really needs to watch Ubaldo's workload more than he has.  So far it hasn't affected him at all, but we'll see if he holds up over the course of the season.

Oh yeah, the dingers.  Ian Stewart and Miguel Olivo went deep today to give the Rockies both of their runs.  Olivo is asserting enough production behind the dish that Chris Iannetta may once again find himself as a backup.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Ubaldo Jimenez
: See above.

2.  Miguel Olivo: Dinger #1 provided the victory margin.

3.  Ian Stewart: Dinger #2 provided an insurance run.  Not that Ubaldo needed it, though Stewart couldn't have known that Franklin Morales wouldn't need one, either.

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